Liverpool right-back Trent Alexander-Arnold has been subject to immense criticism from all sides following his poor defensive displays this season. The youngster’s defensive part of the game has been a victim of his brilliant attacking exploits up the field. Moreover, his lack of vigilance in the defensive third as well as the penalty box has cost the Reds dearly in some of the crucial games.
Now, Chelsea legend Frank Leboeuf has lashed out at the 23-year-old for his lazy defending. Leboeuf, a defender himself launched a staunching attack at Alexander-Arnold’s defensive skills, which he feels are “Championship level”. The former France international is regarded as one of the blazing center-backs who made 197 appearances and scored 23 goals for the Blues. He also helped the Londoners to a UEFA Super Cup triumph, 2 FA Cups and a League Cup during his five year stint at the club.
Leboeuf wants to teach Trent Alexander-Arnold the basics of defending
Trent Alexander-Arnold has always been hailed for his attacking contributions, even earning him the label of the most creative player in England at one time. The 23-year-old made his way through the Reds’ academy to debut for the first-team under Jurgen Klopp in the 2016/17 season. Since making his debut, Alexander-Arnold hasn’t looked and already completed club football by winning every trophy there is to.
Racking up 235 appearances for Liverpool, the right-back has provided 62 assists and scored 14 goals winning the Premier League, Champions League, Super Cup, Club World Cup, FA Cup and the League Cup so far in his six years career at the club. However, in recent months his defensive qualities have paid the price for his outstanding attacking abilities.
Leboeuf joined a host of pundits who have heavily come down on the England international who has overlooked polishing his defensive skills. Alexander-Arnold has committed four errors leading to goals already in 8 games this season, with one each in the stalemate against Fulham and defeat against Manchester United in the league, and two against Napoli in the 4-1 drubbing in the Champions League. Leboeuf talked about the Liverpool player’s defensive shortcomings in an interview with French newspaper Journal du Dimanche, telling:
“Only [Jurgen] Klopp’s system works for him. When it doesn’t work as well as it has this season, all you see is his defensive shortcomings. I want to take him with me to work on the basics. I would say to him: ‘Turn your head and look behind you, it will be better already’.”
Last week, Liverpool legend Robbie Fowler too was upset with Trent Alexander-Arnold’s defensive exploits against Napoli, as he said on BT Sport:
“What I would say is you can’t question the desire of this team over the last few years, but you can tonight. We know how good Napoli are and they’ve been brilliant, but Liverpool have been so poor. Joe Gomez will get all the stick [for his first-half performance] but look at the lack of desire from Trent. You can’t call out him going forward but defensively we can pick him apart because he doesn’t show the same desire to get back than he does to get forward and that’s wrong.”
The right-back was picked by the Three Lions’ manager Gareth Southgate for their Nations League fixtures against Italy and Germany. However, he didn’t play a single minute in the defeat against Italy as the England were relegated to League B. Further on, his World Cup spot too could be in a jeopardy if he continues to show up poorly in the defensive arena. Nonetheless, he still has time to work well on the same and rediscover his clinical touch in defending as well.